“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:16-18
The Apostle Paul here instructs the Roman church to “Live in harmony with one another.” When I think of harmony, I first think of the different musical parts of a choir. Each part is sung in a different key, but the various parts come together to make a full, strong, complex, and beautiful song. In a similar way, the church should live in harmony.
The Lord Jesus intends for us to live in community – life together – and in living together in the church there should be great diversity. Our church is made up of different backgrounds, talents, ages, races, cultures, jobs, economic status, styles, and personalities. But within all this diversity we have one driving purpose, which is to worship and live for Christ Jesus our risen Savior. We must all be striving to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as our self.
A call to harmony is not a call to sameness. Harmony, by definition, requires difference, but that difference complements and makes the whole better and fuller. The boundaries of sameness come in worshipping the Lord Jesus as He is revealed in the Bible and obeying his moral commands. But the moral commands of Christ are not racially or culturally specific. It is clear from John’s Revelation 7:9-10 that by the saving work of Jesus Christ people from every language, tribe, and nation will one day gather before the throne of Jesus to worship. I do not believe that this will be a group conformed to sameness, but a beautiful harmony of cultures, language and races unified for the single purpose of worshipping our Savior, Jesus.
In Romans 15:5-6 Paul clearly states the goal of diverse harmony in the church; “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Regardless of your age, race, style, job, background, or talents may you join with others in our church to glorify the Lord Jesus with one voice! This harmony will be more powerful and more beautiful to a watching world than your witness alone. Let us be grateful for the sense of harmony that the Holy Spirit has brought to our church, but I pray for it to grow even stronger.
As we approach another Lord’s Supper Sunday, let us confess and forgive any division that may be between us. Let’s speak authentically with each other, not holding back speaking of our needs and struggles out of pride. Let’s talk together much during the week and be in each other’s homes. And then, let’s come together on Sunday to lift our voices to the Lord and hear the preaching of His word. Let’s do everything possible, on our behalf, to live in peace with others. Let’s live in harmony together!
May nothing divide us against each other,